Hiring a copywriter for a sales page

by Scoke
101 replies
I'm relatively new to WF and --I need to hire someone to write a sales page for my product. All the copywriters I've spoken to (so far) want their fee before or upon delivery, with no guarantees around conversion.

BUT, how on earth do I know that after I've given the copywriter my $3000 (or, $5000 or $10000 or whatever)--and they walk away, that the page will convert? I'm not a gambler, and I AM willing to pay for a sales page that works. I'm NOT willing to pay for a page that doesn't.

How can I align the copywriter's economic incentive with mine? Thoughts anyone?
#copywriter #hiring #page #sales
  • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
    Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

    How can I align the copywriter's economic incentive with mine? Thoughts anyone?
    1) Have a partner to handle your marketing (who takes a % of the sales or $ per name acquired)

    2) Work a royalty/commission into the deal to give them incentive for the project's long term success

    Those are the only ways I know to get a long term commitment out of a copywriter. It also insures they'll stay with you for the long run because their additional stream of income is based on the success of your marketing and promotion.

    Some copywriters (like myself) will only accept these types of arrangements.

    Also, as for the commission/royalties, you can do it on a percentage of sales or so many dollars per new name added to your list. Or, you can do both - $4/name on acquisition, %/sale for back ends.

    Your choice.

    -Angel
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    • Profile picture of the author Scoke
      Originally Posted by ARSuarez View Post

      1) Have a partner to handle your marketing (who takes a % of the sales or $ per name acquired)

      2) Work a royalty/commission into the deal to give them incentive for the project's long term success

      Those are the only ways I know to get a long term commitment out of a copywriter. It also insures they'll stay with you for the long run because their additional stream of income is based on the success of your marketing and promotion.

      Some copywriters (like myself) will only accept these types of arrangements.

      Also, as for the commission/royalties, you can do it on a percentage of sales or so many dollars per new name added to your list. Or, you can do both - $4/name on acquisition, %/sale for back ends.

      Your choice.

      -Angel
      Hi Angel,

      That sounds more in-line with what I would expect of a professional who is willing to walk their talk.

      What has frustrated me up until this point is when I hear and read all these grand promises and glowing testimonials--"My sales copy sells $80M in 3 hours" but then when I've asked the copywriters to back it up with the economics, what I've gotten is "But, but, but and well, well, well".

      I firmly believe that human beings are economically rational. If a person really, really does believe that their sales copy can sell $80M is 3 hours, then the economically rational thing for them to do is to take a percentage. Otherwise, I smell a rat.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
        Banned
        The copywriter though is taking a hell of a risk with their time and expertise.

        You also need to do your part to reassure them that you're not going to rip them off either. And you might be surprised at the number of people trying it on, every trick in the book to get out of making good on their promised monies owed.

        Now, no professional copywriter is going to guarantee you a set conversion rate. We simply do not know from whence you'll be attracting traffic to your offer. If this traffic is stone cold, chances are it's going to bomb no matter how good the sales copy. And this is completely outside of the copywriters control.

        How can you reassure the copywriters here that you will make good on your word? What mechanisms will you put in place so your copywriter can see exactly how you're promoting your offer and will all of these statistics be available to your copywriter?

        Best,


        Pete Walker
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        • Profile picture of the author Nostrildamus
          Erm, check out a load copywriters' own sites and those of their clients. If you get the tingles, you've found your man.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
        Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

        I firmly believe that human beings are economically rational. If a person really, really does believe that their sales copy can sell $80M is 3 hours, then the economically rational thing for them to do is to take a percentage. Otherwise, I smell a rat.
        First of all, it's completely appropriate to PAY your copywriter their fees, whether it's 100% upfront (like me) or half in the beginning and the other upon completion.

        It's an investment in YOUR success. Get over it.

        However, your issue with trying to guarantee conversions is a valid concern.

        Bluntly stated, nobody can guarantee conversions. I don't care who you are and what kind of track record you have.

        The moment you hear someone say "Yeah, I can definitely guarantee I'll write you copy that converts," run for the hills.

        That being said, it's in the copywriters best interest to keep tweaking or even rewriting a sales page until some level of success has been achieved.

        An example: I've been working with 4 people for the last 2 - 4 months tweaking their sales letters. All of them are bringing money, except for one. This sales letter already gets about 1,000 people on it a week because of a redirect, but it's only getting maybe 3 0r 4 sales a day. We are definitely getting closer to the message that's converting, so it can be a process...

        That's what you're looking for... a copywriter who stays with you until an agreed upon goal can be manifested.
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        • Profile picture of the author Scoke
          I think the key word in your reply is "investment"--a I want RETURN on my investment. A "nice try" doesn't pay the bills.

          If a copywriter is willing to commit to sticking around until the page starts to convert, that's something. At least it shows a willingness to stand behind the work...

          Originally Posted by Reflection Marketing View Post

          First of all, it's completely appropriate to PAY your copywriter their fees, whether it's 100% upfront (like me) or half in the beginning and the other upon completion.

          It's an investment in YOUR success. Get over it.

          However, your issue with trying to guarantee conversions is a valid concern.

          Bluntly stated, nobody can guarantee conversions. I don't care who you are and what kind of track record you have.

          The moment you hear someone say "Yeah, I can definitely guarantee I'll write you copy that converts," run for the hills.

          That being said, it's in the copywriters best interest to keep tweaking or even rewriting a sales page until some level of success has been achieved.

          An example: I've been working with 4 people for the last 2 - 4 months tweaking their sales letters. All of them are bringing money, except for one. This sales letter already gets about 1,000 people on it a week because of a redirect, but it's only getting maybe 3 0r 4 sales a day. We are definitely getting closer to the message that's converting, so it can be a process...

          That's what you're looking for... a copywriter who stays with you until an agreed upon goal can be manifested.
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          • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

            I think the key word in your reply is "investment"--a I want RETURN on my investment. A "nice try" doesn't pay the bills.

            If a copywriter is willing to commit to sticking around until the page starts to convert, that's something. At least it shows a willingness to stand behind the work...
            You're looking at this only from the viewpoint of, "What's in this for me?" (With little or no consideration for your copywriter.) Which in itself sends up a red flag to steer well clear.

            If you were wording your request not from your own selfish POV but rather out of equal concern for the copywriter, your credibility with your request would rise.

            Your copywriters here, they also need to make a profit. Their time and expertise which you haven't got, is their investment in themselves. But to you it's obvious that this doesn't stand for a lot.

            All you want is the maximum return on your investment whilst minimizing your own financial risk. Completely natural maybe but give the copywriters their due, they have to think very similarly about their own business and who they choose to work with.

            If you say, I want everything on my terms only you'll push every experienced copywriter in the opposite direction.

            We also need to be sold to, to make the decision to work with any potential client. And if you can't sell us on your willingness or otherwise to come up with the readies in advance... you'll be looking for a very long time for a professional copywriter suitable for your purposes.

            "Hey! Look at that gorgeous car in the showroom - Wow! What a beauty!..."

            You don't go up to the salesman and say, "Hey I want to test this car out for a month first without paying for it. If I decide that I like it, I'll pay for it later. Otherwise you can keep it."

            You don't walk into a bar and say, "Well I've never tried this brandy before, tell you what, lets have the double brandy first and if I don't like it, I won't pay for it, do we have a deal?"

            What do think the barman is going to say to you?

            You pay for everything else in advance and don't have a problem with it so why not apply the same philosophy to your business?

            Your copywriter is the kingpin in your business.

            S/he can make or break your business profit. Allowing you to enjoy the lifestyle you want. Everything else in your life rests on the copywriters ability to put profit in your bank account... but you don't value this?

            So let me get this straight... You haven't got the skill to do this yourself (hence the question in the first place) but you also underestimate what the copywriter brings to the table and possibly think that you call pull the wool over your copywriters eyes by offering a percentage only and nothing up front?

            Seriously, what planet are you on sunshine?

            You need the copywriter. Without them you ain't going nowhere fast matey. In fact you ain't got a business without your copywriter on side.

            So highly value their unique and very professional skill. Don't treat them like a disposable commodity.

            Don't insult them.

            Don't tell them you have no desire to pay their fees upfront. Adopt such a lax attitude and little wonder you'll repel every professional copywriter on this forum and elsewhere.

            You're nothing without your pro copywriter firmly on your side.

            And they need their motivation and there's nothing like money in their pocket to get most professional copywriters very highly motivated!!

            Offering no money upfront or offering some silly percentage is like trying to start a car with a flat battery.

            Charge 'em up! And you'll see very good positive results.

            Best,


            Pete Walker
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            • Profile picture of the author Scoke
              Listen, my question in my original post (which is still the operative question) is: how do I ALIGN my copywriter's economic mine? I've been talking about a WIN-WIN here from the very beginning.

              What I've heard from the copywriters that I've spoken to before this post is "I WIN regardless of whether or not YOU LOSE".

              In the best business deals, risk and reward are shared with some degree of parity. And, I very much see the copywriter-content provider relationship as a partnership. It has to be. But, in the case where the copywriter walks away with a couple thousand dollars in hand (up-front?!?! yikes), he/she has little or no skin in the game.

              I'm fully aware that I need to put something at stake (to show good faith and commitment), but I think the copywriter needs to put something at stake, too.
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              • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
                It's a tiring conversation that pops up monthly.

                Sure... there is risk in hiring a copywriter. Do your homework... Go on reputation. Talk to others who have hired the copywriter.

                A good copywriter will often have a guaranteed up front fee PLUS a piece of your end too.

                The first part is to pay him for his time...

                The second part is to give him skin in the game...

                There are no guarantees of performance. There can't be. There are too many variables. Let's say for instance you're selling a book on how to train parakeets. You find a great copywriter... convince him to take 25% of profits in lieu of pay. He says, "sure..."

                What follows is him working a month on your project... Putting in nearly 80 hours to write you a compelling offer...

                Then you launch your product... completely screw up the ad buys... never attract affiliates... and basically screw the pooch. Your copywriter now lost a month of his life.

                Or... let's say you're looking to sell a piece of software that scans the web and recruits affiliates for marketers. It smells like a zillion dollar invention. It's been tested and it works like crazy! You find a great copywriter... convince him to take 10% of profits in lieu of pay. He says, "sure..."

                What follows is him working a month on your project... Putting in nearly 100 hours to write you a compelling offer...

                Turns out your software was TOO good. The government decides it's illegal. Your copywriter now lost a month of his life.

                Or... let's say you want to sell a product on flipping houses. You find a great copywriter... convince him to take 30% of profits in lieu of pay. He says, "sure..."

                What follows is him working a month on your project... Putting in more than 65 hours to write you a compelling offer...

                Then after hanging out talking with some flippers on a forum you come to the realization that you're a moron. House flipping in this economy is the stupidest idea in the world. There is no way the copy is going to sell 1 damn copy of your product. You just decide to abandon it and move onto dog grooming.

                Your copywriter now lost a month of his life.

                These scenarios happen every single day. That's why you can't pay a copywriter for his time with a "will come" deal.

                Finding a copywriter is all about the reputation. No copywriter hits homeruns everytime. I've had my share of less-than-stellar performances. But I've had more than my share of huge successes. You're not paying for a guarantee of results. You're paying to stack the deck in your favor.

                No one can promise success... but some of us can be your best shot at success. In any service business... that's all you can ask for.

                You don't make a deal with a doctor to only pay if he cures you. You don't hire a lawyer and only pay if he gets you out of jail.

                You can pay a gajillion dollars to make sure your car is the fastest... your pit crew the best... hone your skills to be above all others... but you can still lose that race, and it could have nothing to do with any of those things.

                But... If you are hung up on not paying unless you have some sort of guarantee the copy will convert, then just save your money... and learn copy. Then you can become your own worst client.
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              • Profile picture of the author WillDL
                Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

                Listen, my question in my original post (which is still the operative question) is: how do I ALIGN my copywriter's economic mine? I've been talking about a WIN-WIN here from the very beginning.

                What I've heard from the copywriters that I've spoken to before this post is "I WIN regardless of whether or not YOU LOSE".

                In the best business deals, risk and reward are shared with some degree of parity. And, I very much see the copywriter-content provider relationship as a partnership. It has to be. But, in the case where the copywriter walks away with a couple thousand dollars in hand (up-front?!?! yikes), he/she has little or no skin in the game.

                I'm fully aware that I need to put something at stake (to show good faith and commitment), but I think the copywriter needs to put something at stake, too.
                You're being ridiculous. The copy writers aren't asking to partner with you. You are looking for an independent contractor to perform a service. Independent contractors generally require an upfront fee. They aren't sales people and you're ability to put the right prospects in front of the copy is way more important than the copy itself. The serious copywriters I know require I couple grand upfront and 3-5% of sales. They don't guarantee anything or work on straight commissions because way too much is out of their control to make either viable, long term business models.

                Beyond that, copy writers put their reputation at risk every time they write a sales letter. If they write a letter or two that don't convert they loose the ability to charge the big bucks. Their economic interest is immediately aligned with every client they take. The marketing world is too damn small to throw up crap and charge big boy prices. Client looses they loose bigger. Period. Anyone with solid references who has been in the game for a couple of years intrinsically has as much riding on your product as you do.
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              • Profile picture of the author kellyburdes
                Like Vin said above even the best writers will sometimes miss the market, but overall copy writers live and die by the reputation they build for conversions. If they throw out a couple of duds in a row, and by that I mean they are hired to write a letter, and the product owner sends targeted traffic which doesn't convert, they are not going to last long.

                Your about as good as your last two or three pieces of copy. Check into someone's reputation, if it's good understand that they did not build that good reputation by writing **** that doesn't convert.

                If you can't accept that risk, your probably not ready to play the game in the first place IMO.



                Originally Posted by Scoke View Post



                In the best business deals, risk and reward are shared with some degree of parity. And, I very much see the copywriter-content provider relationship as a partnership. It has to be. But, in the case where the copywriter walks away with a couple thousand dollars in hand (up-front?!?! yikes), he/she has little or no skin in the game.
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              • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
                Banned
                Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

                Listen, my question in my original post (which is still the operative question) is: how do I ALIGN my copywriter's economic mine? I've been talking about a WIN-WIN here from the very beginning.

                What I've heard from the copywriters that I've spoken to before this post is "I WIN regardless of whether or not YOU LOSE".

                In the best business deals, risk and reward are shared with some degree of parity. And, I very much see the copywriter-content provider relationship as a partnership. It has to be. But, in the case where the copywriter walks away with a couple thousand dollars in hand (up-front?!?! yikes), he/she has little or no skin in the game.

                I'm fully aware that I need to put something at stake (to show good faith and commitment), but I think the copywriter needs to put something at stake, too.
                I did listen to you which is an intrinsic part of the copywriters role. To understand your frustration and pain - with a good dollop of psychology thrown into the mix too.

                The real question is... are you listening to the real professional copywriters advice on this thread?

                Your comments clearly demonstrate a complete lack of respect for the copywriters here. If you were to be demonstrating respect, you would not be replying in the manner shown so far.

                You would on the other hand be appreciating the advice we bring to the table and possibly saying, "You know what? You're completely right, I was looking at this in the wrong way. I'll certainly take your professional opinions on board and thank you for setting me straight in this regard. It's very much appreciated."

                If you did this and showed a more reflexive attitude, your own credibility here as a potential client would rise.

                But retorting in the manner which you have so far, your credibility as a potential client has resoundingly hit the ground with a massive SPLAT!

                It pays to put your money where your mouth is.
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                • Profile picture of the author Scoke
                  Originally Posted by Pete Walker View Post


                  Your comments clearly demonstrate a complete lack of respect for the copywriters here.... But retorting in the manner which you have so far, your credibility as a potential client has resoundingly hit the ground with a massive SPLAT!...It pays to put your money where your mouth is.
                  Well, there's more than one way to skin a cat. You do your business your way, and I do my business my way...There's nothing wrong with either. And, I'm very pleased with the not insignificant number of copywriters who have sent me messages interested in working with me. I'm actually pretty hopeful after getting the responses from this thread that I'll find a copywriter who is a good match for me. I've already gotten what I wanted out of this thread--It's very exciting!

                  I absolutely agree with you that it pays to put your money where your mouth is--which is what I'm asking of the person who writes my copy. If someone is going to advertise about all the wonderful results their copy has produced, my expectation is that they will stand behind that advertisement.

                  If I've left anyone with the impression that I don't value/respect what a copywriter does, that's not the case. I fully admit to being new to the scene--I started the thread with this information. But, if I've learned one thing (brutally) in business, it's to "trust my gut". When it come to working with people, I pay for performance not for hype. The person who writes the copy that sells my product will get all the respect in the world from me. People who talk a good game but can't perform, that's a different matter all together.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
                    Scoke,

                    What you've seen from the responses so far remind me of the old saying, "Sacred cows make the best hamburger".

                    LOL

                    There are plenty of quality professionals around who work using a results-based model.

                    Alex
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                    • Profile picture of the author Scoke
                      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

                      Scoke,

                      What you've seen from the responses so far remind me of the old saying, "Sacred cows make the best hamburger".

                      LOL

                      There are plenty of quality professionals around who work using a results-based model.

                      Alex
                      I know. Any and every serious professional who is confident of their ability to perform is not afraid of being held accountable for and paid for that performance. Period.
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      • Profile picture of the author TyBrown
        Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

        Hi Angel,

        That sounds more in-line with what I would expect of a professional who is willing to walk their talk.

        What has frustrated me up until this point is when I hear and read all these grand promises and glowing testimonials--"My sales copy sells $80M in 3 hours" but then when I've asked the copywriters to back it up with the economics, what I've gotten is "But, but, but and well, well, well".

        I firmly believe that human beings are economically rational. If a person really, really does believe that their sales copy can sell $80M is 3 hours, then the economically rational thing for them to do is to take a percentage. Otherwise, I smell a rat.
        I'm not a pro copywriter but I couldn't disagree with you more. The criteria for someone being a rat is not someone who asks for a fee vs. a percentage. I'm sure that of those who ask for a flat fee some will be rats and some will be legit, to lump them all together seems off.

        How does the copywriter know how much traffic you'll get to the page? How does he know how well you'll perform customer service? How does he know if you've got good upsells or none at all? How does he know how long you'll run the promotion? How does he know if you'll actually pay him the percentage? How does he know if you'll use funny accounting or not to show real profits?

        If you are saying that the copywriter needs skin in the game that is asking a ton because his getting paid is now dependent on how well you can run a business. Were I a copywriter I don't think I'd leave my paycheck up to chance.
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        • Profile picture of the author TyBrown
          Originally Posted by TyBrown View Post

          I'm not a pro copywriter but I couldn't disagree with you more. The criteria for someone being a rat is not someone who asks for a fee vs. a percentage. I'm sure that of those who ask for a flat fee some will be rats and some will be legit, to lump them all together seems off.

          How does the copywriter know how much traffic you'll get to the page? How does he know how well you'll perform customer service? How does he know if you've got good upsells or none at all? How does he know how long you'll run the promotion? How does he know if you'll actually pay him the percentage? How does he know if you'll use funny accounting or not to show real profits?

          If you are saying that the copywriter needs skin in the game that is asking a ton because his getting paid is now dependent on how well you can run a business. Were I a copywriter I don't think I'd leave my paycheck up to chance.

          Oops. I simply read the first part of this thread and then responded. I didn't notice until after that a grundle of people have already written things similar to what I've written. Sorry all.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stephen Dean
    Being a copywriter is kind of like being a chick. You get propositioned every single day. Especially for percentage deals.

    And if we took every offer to work for a percentage, we wouldn't have time to take on your project anyway.

    But a percentage deal is a gamble for the copywriter. Copywriting is a sales multiplier, but if the marketer can't get targeted traffic or the product sucks - we're up a creek. And then there's also the problem of making sure we're paid fairly.

    So pretending like a percentage deal is a no-brainer, is completely backwards. It's a non-starter for most copywriters with any experience.

    That said, there are deals that can be worked out somewhere in the middle.

    Cheers,
    Stephen Dean
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    How can I align the copywriter's economic incentive with mine? Thoughts anyone?
    Not a problem. Have the site set up so the joint venture partner can view raw sales figures in analytics. No password changes. No lockouts. No alternatives.

    Preventing access is an instant default. No exceptions.

    An offer to audit the books at any time is always nice. For those marketers who, like Jay Abraham, have their accountant do audits.

    Always offer percentage of gross sales. Not profits. Not net.

    The copywriter owns everything she or he puts into the venture. Copyrights. Code. Layout. Photos. Video. Bonuses. Logos. Business processes. And the right to use Testimonials they bring in. Should the deal go south, no problem. You go your way. The copywriter takes every scrap of their contribution and goes his or hers.

    And, truth be told, if it's not producing sales -- that is no kind of problem. You want if off your site.

    Finally some cooperation is always nice. If you are asked for testimonials, do not come up with one thousand and one excuses -- get 'em.

    If The Video needs to be reshot. Reshoot it.

    If The Product needs to be changed. Change it.

    Don't have a back end and upsells. Get some.

    Essentially your same caveat applies. The key word is INVESTMENT. And the people making this pitch usually aren't going to put up an investment equal to or exceeding that which they ask of others.
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  • Profile picture of the author Scoke
    Hi Y'all,

    Thanks so much for all the great replies. I can't send PMs myself yet (still new to WF). So, if you are sending me a PM, PLEASE, please, please include some way for me to get in contact with you. I'd hate to have the perfect person send me a PM, and then I can't respond.

    I'm going to dig around now to see if I can just buy my way up the ladder. In the meantime, make sure to put your email or something in your PMs.
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  • Profile picture of the author kellyburdes
    I would suspect that a person who can't afford to "lose" $3000 if "the copy doesn't convert" has very little to offer and on that basis alone most copywriters would be wise to stay away.

    Keep in mind that I'm not a professional copywriter, I'm a product owner who for the most part writes his own copy and does pretty well with it - but if I was a freelancer I'd stay as far away from someone like you offering your deal as possible.
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    • Profile picture of the author Scoke
      Originally Posted by kellyburdes View Post

      I would suspect that a person who can't afford to "lose" $3000 if "the copy doesn't convert" has very little to offer and on that basis alone most copywriters would be wise to stay away.

      Keep in mind that I'm not a professional copywriter, I'm a product owner who for the most part writes his own copy and does pretty well with it - but if I was a freelancer I'd stay as far away from someone like you offering your deal as possible.
      You are absolutely right that any money invested is money I have to be willing to part with...But, if I'm going to blow $3000, I'd rather take a trip to the Caribbean. Or donate it to the homeless... Or, throw a party... This isn't that. The goal here is to make a profit. So, the investment made in a copywriter's fee will be made with an eye towards doing my best to ensure the investment is profitable. It's very simple. I'm fine with spending money on a copywriter, I just don't want to waste it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

        .But, if I'm going to blow $3000, I'd rather take a trip to the Caribbean. Or donate it to the homeless... Or, throw a party...
        Personally I'd rather blow $3k on a copywriter who makes me $100k plus to enjoy 10 more trips to the Caribbean with some loose change left over.

        Your copywriter is an investment not a cost.

        You don't blow money on a copywriter who can get you results.

        You pay upfront what they're worth and they in turn give you a very good return on your money invested. Essentially rendering your sales copy free of charge.

        Employ a newbie and it'll cost you a hell of a lot more. The only pm messages you'll receive, guaranteed, will be from new or very inexperienced would be 'copywriters' who don't know the full rules of the game. Everyone else will run miles away from your proposition. And for a very good reason too.

        Further in answer to your original question, do your research right here on this forum. Assuming due diligence you'll soon enough be able to sort the wheat out from the chaff.

        To give you a headstart, try one of these top copywriters with a huge number of successes behind them... just be warned, none of them come 'cheap'. Certainly don't insult any of them with a silly royalty fee proposition with no payment upfront.

        These copywriters are all a cut above the rest on this forum and most, if not all of them, are at the very top of their game and have generated millions of dollars for their clients.

        Scott Murdaugh, Dean Dhuli, Vin Montello, Brian Cassingena, Mark McClure, Dorothy Pecson, John_S, Rick Duris,Brian McLeod, Mark Pocock, Ken Strong, Bruce Wedding, Loren Woirhaye, Daniel Scott, Kevin Rogers, Alan Carr, Malcolm Lambe, Kyle Tully, Matt O'Connor, Ross Bowring, Stephen Dean, Arfa Saira, Laura Catella, Kevin Lam, Mike Humphreys, Cherilyn Woodhouse, Jack Bastide, Paul Hancox, Alex Cohen, Ken Caudill, Bill Jeffels, Collette, Ray Edwards, David Raybould, Andrew Cavanagh, Paul Myers, Hugh Thyer. Chris Ramsey, Lance K, Danielle Lynn. Colmodwyer, Matt Jutras, Omar Khafagy, Robert Boduch, Tim Castleman, David Babineau.
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        • Profile picture of the author Scoke
          Originally Posted by Pete Walker View Post

          Your copywriter is an investment not a cost...
          The only pm messages you'll receive, guaranteed, will be from new or very inexperienced would be 'copywriters' who don't know the full rules of the game. Everyone else will run miles away from your proposition. And for a very good reason too.
          I agree that it's an investment. One makes an investment with the expectation of a return--not excuses or blaming PPC campaign or the product or "blah, blah, blah" for why things didn't turn out.

          As for the assertion that only losers have sent me PMs, I'm very hopeful about the opposite. I believe (and hope) that's it's the people who know they can deliver who would contact me about performance based comp. Only time and results will tell on that one. Stay tuned...
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          • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

            I agree that it's an investment. One makes an investment with the expectation of a return--not excuses or blaming PPC campaign or the product or "blah, blah, blah" for why things didn't turn out.

            As for the assertion that only losers have sent me PMs, I'm very hopeful about the opposite. I believe (and hope) that's it's the people who know they can deliver who would contact me about performance based comp. Only time and results will tell on that one. Stay tuned...
            I won't hold my breath.

            For your convenience, I adjusted my reply above.

            If you have replies from anyone not on the above list of top copywriters, I'd steer well clear of them if I were you. I say this only for your own good believe it or not.

            All of the above names have an impeccable track record with countless success stories behind them. And they won't be attracted to you unless you pay them very well indeed - upfront.

            Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

            As for the assertion that only losers have sent me PMs...
            I didn't say losers, you said that, not me.

            I said... "...will be from new or very inexperienced would be 'copywriters' who don't know the full rules of the game."

            Subtle difference.

            Good luck.


            Pete Walker
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            • Profile picture of the author Scoke
              Originally Posted by Pete Walker View Post

              I didn't say losers, you said that, not me...I said... "...will be from new or very inexperienced would be 'copywriters' who don't know the full rules of the game."
              Some rules are made to be broken.
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              • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
                Banned
                Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

                Some rules are made to be broken.
                I don't think you're serious about this. To you, this thread is a game.

                I'm bowing out. Read and learn from both Daniel and Brian above.
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                • Profile picture of the author Scoke
                  Originally Posted by Pete Walker View Post

                  I don't think you're serious about this. To you, this thread is a game.

                  I'm bowing out. Read and learn from both Daniel and Brian above.
                  I'm taking this thread very seriously--very, very seriously. But, I'm not convinced that just because something has always been done a particular way that that's the best way. Or, that it's the best way for me.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
                    Banned
                    One final question for you Scoke and I'm done...

                    What do you think of both Daniel and Brian's replies above?
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                    • Profile picture of the author Scoke
                      Originally Posted by Pete Walker View Post

                      One final question for you Scoke and I'm done...

                      What do you think of both Daniel and Brian's replies above?
                      Honestly, I'm going to sleep, and I'll wake up tomorrow and re-read the whole thread, including the replies from Daniel and Brian. There are also some good recommendations on *sane* compensation structures that I want to pull out. But, I can't digest any more information right now--too tired.
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        • Profile picture of the author Scoke
          Originally Posted by Pete Walker View Post

          Certainly don't insult any of them with a silly royalty fee proposition with no payment upfront.
          I haven't said I was unwilling to make an upfront payment. But, I don't believe the majority the comp should be upfront. And, thanks for the recommendations...Those are very helpful.
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        • Profile picture of the author Scoke
          Originally Posted by Pete Walker View Post

          Scott Murdaugh, Dean Dhuli, Vin Montello, Brian Cassingena, Mark McClure, Dorothy Pecson, John_S, Rick Duris, Brian McLeod, Mark Pocock, Ken Strong, Bruce Wedding, Loren Woirhaye, Daniel Scott, Kevin Rogers, Alan Carr, Malcolm Lambe, Kyle Tully, Matt O'Connor, Ross Bowring, Stephen Dean, Arfa Saira, Kevin Lam, Mike Humphreys, Cherilyn Woodhouse, Jack Bastide, Paul Hancox, Alex Cohen, Ken Caudill, Bill Jeffels, Collette, Ray Edwards, David Raybould, Andrew Cavanagh, Paul Myers, Hugh Thyer. Chris Ramsey, Lance K, Danielle Lynn. Colmodwyer, Matt Jutras, Omar Khafagy, Robert Boduch, Tim Castleman, David Babineau.
          What's your criteria for your "top copywriter" list?
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          • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

            What's your criteria for your "top copywriter" list?
            Researching the competition of course.

            And seeing their track records.
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          • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
            Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

            What's your criteria for your "top copywriter" list?
            Anyone he could think of.
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            • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
              Banned
              Originally Posted by Cam Connor View Post

              Anyone he could think of.
              That list of names isn't just anyone. The list certainly was not picked out of thin air.

              Use advanced search. Search their history. Find out about their successes. Cross check on Google. If you think for one second I just plucked those names out of thin air - you're very much mistaken.

              Those copywriters were selected for very good reason because they can each demonstrate and prove they're at the top of their game.
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        • Profile picture of the author max5ty
          Originally Posted by Pete Walker View Post


          These copywriters are all a cut above the rest on this forum and most, if not all of them, are at the very top of their game and have generated millions of dollars for their clients.

          Scott Murdaugh, Dean Dhuli, Vin Montello, Brian Cassingena, Mark McClure, Dorothy Pecson, John_S, Rick Duris,Brian McLeod, Mark Pocock, Ken Strong, Bruce Wedding, Loren Woirhaye, Daniel Scott, Kevin Rogers, Alan Carr, Malcolm Lambe, Kyle Tully, Matt O'Connor, Ross Bowring, Stephen Dean, Arfa Saira, Laura Catella, Kevin Lam, Mike Humphreys, Cherilyn Woodhouse, Jack Bastide, Paul Hancox, Alex Cohen, Ken Caudill, Bill Jeffels, Collette, Ray Edwards, David Raybould, Andrew Cavanagh, Paul Myers, Hugh Thyer. Chris Ramsey, Lance K, Danielle Lynn. Colmodwyer, Matt Jutras, Omar Khafagy, Robert Boduch, Tim Castleman, David Babineau.
          Hey, maybe if I keep practisin, someday I can make the official walker list - and I can also be one of those that "make millions for my clients".
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          • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
            Banned
            Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

            Hey, maybe if I keep practisin, someday I can make the official walker list - and I can also be one of those that "make millions for my clients".
            If you changed your username and stick around long enough, you might make it in one day.
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        • Profile picture of the author theory expert
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Pete Walker View Post

          These copywriters are all a cut above the rest on this forum and most, if not all of them, are at the very top of their game and have generated millions of dollars for their clients.

          Scott Murdaugh, Dean Dhuli, Vin Montello, Brian Cassingena, Mark McClure, Dorothy Pecson, John_S, Rick Duris,Brian McLeod, Mark Pocock, Ken Strong, Bruce Wedding, Loren Woirhaye, Daniel Scott, Kevin Rogers, Alan Carr, Malcolm Lambe, Kyle Tully, Matt O'Connor, Ross Bowring, Stephen Dean, Arfa Saira, Laura Catella, Kevin Lam, Mike Humphreys, Cherilyn Woodhouse, Jack Bastide, Paul Hancox, Alex Cohen, Ken Caudill, Bill Jeffels, Collette, Ray Edwards, David Raybould, Andrew Cavanagh, Paul Myers, Hugh Thyer. Chris Ramsey, Lance K, Danielle Lynn. Colmodwyer, Matt Jutras, Omar Khafagy, Robert Boduch, Tim Castleman, David Babineau.
          Some on this list I never heard of....

          Some on this list I should have known they were copywriters...

          Some on this list I am suprise they could copy their way out of a paper bag...

          Some of the best aren't on this list because they copy for themselves....

          Some aren't on this list because they were left out......

          Some aren't on this list because they aren't forum members....

          I just wanted to give the OP a heads up..this list is by no means the end all be all. Though, I respect Pete for giving you some writers to refer to

          ...due your own diligence as always
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          • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Team X View Post

            Some on this list I never heard of....

            Some on this list I should have known they were copywriters...

            Some on this list I am suprise they could copy their way out of a paper bag...

            Some of the best aren't on this list because they copy for themselves....

            Some aren't on this list because they were left out......

            Some aren't on this list because they aren't forum members....

            I just wanted to give the OP a heads up..this list is by no means the end all be all. Though, I respect Pete for giving you some writers to refer to

            ...due your own diligence as always
            On the first point in bold above, names please? Are you prepared to back up your statement? Why do you state such a thing as categorical fact? (Btw there's a d on the end of 'surprised'.)

            2nd point in bold... Who was left out? Proven names from this forum?

            3rd point in bold... I did state from 'this forum'. Perhaps you missed this point?

            4th point in bold... I didn't state that this list was the be all and end all.

            I'm sorry Team X who are you, only I've never seen you posting here before yet you seem pretty determined to cast a shadow on some of the names in that list... would you care to give a reason for your remarks or sudden apparent interest in this thread of all threads since obviously you consider your voice one to be heard?

            "due your own diligence as always"...

            ??? Pardon?

            Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post

            Rest of the list looks active (and thorough) though.

            -Daniel
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            • Profile picture of the author theory expert
              Banned
              Originally Posted by Pete Walker View Post

              On the first point in bold above, names please? Are you prepared to back up your statement? Why do you state such a thing as categorical fact? (Btw there's a d on the end of 'surprised'.)

              2nd point in bold... Who was left out? Proven names from this forum?

              3rd point in bold... I did state from 'this forum'. Perhaps you missed this point?

              4th point in bold... I didn't state that this list was the be all and end all.

              I'm sorry Team X who are you, only I've never seen you posting here before yet you seem pretty determined to cast a shadow on some of the names in that list... would you care to give a reason for your remarks or sudden apparent interest in this thread of all threads since obviously you consider your voice one to be heard?

              "due your own diligence as always"...

              ??? Pardon?
              1st bold answer: Name names? I can't do that i'd get banned. Categorical fact? is based soley on my observation of their writing style, and, their crappy self promotions. I'd kill myself if one person on there in particular has done anywhere near millions of dollars in sales in copy. I can tell who can write copy and who can't. Call it what you want, i'll leave it at that.

              BTW answer: Thanks for the spelling correction Pete...I am sure it isn't the first nor the last. Add runon sentences in there too!

              2nd bold answer:
              Who was left out from the forum? I am sure some gurus, too many for me to sift through to see who are members here were left out... Which goes into point number 3.... Oh didn't you leave Colin out? My memory isn't sharp all the time, but, I'd have to go through more of this section, I am sure he has commented on post in forum.


              Lastly, I know you didn't state your list was end all be all. I just don't want the OP to get the wrong impression. Everyone should due their own diligence.
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              • Profile picture of the author Scoke
                Originally Posted by Team X View Post

                Categorical fact? is based soley on my observation of their writing style, and, their crappy self promotions. I'd kill myself if one person on there in particular has done anywhere near millions of dollars in sales in copy.

                I just don't want the OP to get the wrong impression. Everyone should due their own diligence.
                I am definitely doing my diligence. And, the "crappy self-promotion" is a large contributor to the skepticism that drives my reluctance to undertake a straight fee-for-service arrangement.

                In all fairness, though, amongst the hundreds of copywriters who have read this thread, there probably are a couple who's copy has sold a million dollars. I don't know whether or not they are on Pete's list, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that at least one them is one of the people who has sent me a PM
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                • Profile picture of the author theory expert
                  Banned
                  Originally Posted by Scoke View Post


                  In all fairness, though, amongst the hundreds of copywriters who have read this thread, there probably are a couple who's copy has sold a million dollars. I don't know whether or not they are on Pete's list,
                  There are quite a few that are on Pete's list who has sold millions(so I am told). Then there are others who I question. Just my little ol opinion though

                  Those on the list I am not certain if they will, or, won't work under your structure. You'd have to check that out yourself as you are already doing.

                  Best of Luck
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                • Profile picture of the author Ansar Pasha
                  Banned
                  Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

                  I am definitely doing my diligence. And, the "crappy self-promotion" is a large contributor to the skepticism that drives my reluctance to undertake a straight fee-for-service arrangement.

                  In all fairness, though, amongst the hundreds of copywriters who have read this thread, there probably are a couple who's copy has sold a million dollars. I don't know whether or not they are on Pete's list, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that at least one them is one of the people who has sent me a PM
                  Doubt it...
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            • Profile picture of the author zapseo
              Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post

              On the first point in bold above, names please? Are you prepared to back up your statement? Why do you state such a thing as categorical fact? (Btw there's a d on the end of 'surprised'.)

              2nd point in bold... Who was left out? Proven names from this forum?

              3rd point in bold... I did state from 'this forum'. Perhaps you missed this point?

              4th point in bold... I didn't state that this list was the be all and end all.

              I'm sorry Team X who are you, only I've never seen you posting here before yet you seem pretty determined to cast a shadow on some of the names in that list... would you care to give a reason for your remarks or sudden apparent interest in this thread of all threads since obviously you consider your voice one to be heard?

              "due your own diligence as always"...

              ??? Pardon?
              Guess it depends upon who is doing the proving, eh ? I'm thrilled by some of the folks who have given me testimonials for my copy critiques.

              I suffered my own form of "Google Slap" back in 2008, when the forum software changed. All my many, many posts that I had contributed to the copywriting forum ... became relegated to archives, where people never see them any more.

              It kinda de-motivated me from coming around and posting content, advice, critiques and reviews, any more.

              While doing some research, I happened upon this thread -- so I apologize to those who have wished that it would die.

              Sometime, when I get more time, I'm going to come back and read the thread in detail. It sounds like a vibrant, intelligent, and worthwhile discussion for copywriters and people who would like to hire copywriters.

              Maybe I'll even come around to this forum again, sooner.

              Take care, folks, and keep up the great work!

              Live JoyFully!

              Judy
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          • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Team X View Post

            Some on this list I am suprise they could copy their way out of a paper bag...
            Originally Posted by Team X View Post

            1st bold answer: Name names? I can't do that i'd get banned. Categorical fact? is based soley on my observation of their writing style, and, their crappy self promotions. I'd kill myself if one person on there in particular has done anywhere near millions of dollars in sales in copy. I can tell who can write copy and who can't. Call it what you want, i'll leave it at that.
            You wouldn't get banned at all. You stated that you'd be surprised that some on that list of names could copy their way out of a paper bag.

            So I asked you to name names. Lets see you stand behind your comment and tell the rest of the forum who specifically, based on your direct experience this comment of yours applies to?

            Or is it simply a case of coming out with a blanket, one-size-fits-all comment which actually doesn't have any substance to it in the slightest?

            I very strongly suspect this to be the case. Sidestepping a very direct question speaks volumes.

            "is based soley on my observation of their writing style, and, their crappy self promotions. I'd kill myself if one person on there in particular has done anywhere near millions of dollars in sales in copy. I can tell who can write copy and who can't. Call it what you want, i'll leave it at that."

            Which just proves your ignorance on this subject for there are several in that list who have done precisely just that.

            Take Vin Montello for example. He's hit it out of the park time and time again, a multitude of million dollar launches to his name. And trained Kevin Rogers who also posts on this forum who is now John Carlton's head copywriter.

            Then there's Daniel Scott, Mike Humphreys, Malcolm Lambe, Ross Bowring, Ray Edwards and several others too.

            Seriously, you might want to ascertain the facts for yourself before spouting off, knocking some of the best names in copywriting out there.

            You say to the OP, 'do your due diligence' when it's patently obvious you wouldn't know a brilliant world class copywriter if one hit you upside the noggin.

            Their 'crappy self promotions' huh? Really? Proof? Yeah... I didn't think so.

            So, if you can tell who can write sales copy and who can't from that list of copywriters... perhaps you could enlighten us all with your superior wisdom and share with the rest of us mere mortals what and who in your esteemed opinion makes for an excellent top of their game copywriter? I'm sure we'd all love to know.

            I'm not nitpicking on you but when you come out with some absolutely and utterly daft sweeping and completely untrue statements such as you've provided above... you better start backing up your comments with a few facts.

            Or desist in future from disrespecting some of the best names in the copywriting business full stop.

            Respectfully yours,


            Pete Walker
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  • Profile picture of the author Doceye
    You know what, Scoke ... you've just flat chosen not to listen. And that's your choice. But choices carry with them consequences.

    Some very, very talented and experienced copywriters have tried to set you straight on your mistake in thinking and you insist on ignoring everything to focus on "guarantees" of performance because you're the one paying. Analogy after analogy were laid at your feet ... and you either ignored the advice contained within, or are so hell-bent on protecting your dough at all cost, that your best bet will be to work with a newbie writer.

    You're still going to be out money, but at least by then you'll be on the road to understanding what the sam-heck guys who've been doing this for years have been trying to tell you here.

    There's no harm or foul in being new to anything, but prick up your ears and learn something here that will benefit you. But please don't ask questions of experts and then dispute their answers when you acknowledge not knowing very much about the subject. Kind of makes you appear a fool.

    Doc
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    Pete,

    Paul Myers hasn't written for clients for quite some time. Rest of the list looks active (and thorough) though.

    Scoke - one problem with your model which I don't think you're seeing...

    You're asking for your copywriter to put their money where their mouth is. And that's fine...

    But what about you?

    What guarantees does a copywriter have you won't screw up your end of the deal... especially after you've admitted you're new to this game?

    I'm lucky enough to count some amazing marketers among my friends... guys most people would kill to be, business-wise.

    And they're the first people to admit they screw up just as much as anyone else.

    Hence why Vin recommend an up front fee + percentage deal. Keeps both of you focused and working hard.

    Thing is, serious business people don't have a problem investing in their business... even if payoff isn't guaranteed. You buy traffic that might or might not work. You pay for a graphic design that might or might not do better. And so on...

    Look... if I ALWAYS hit home runs... I'd be asking for a hundred grand a letter as an absolute minimum.

    Sure... I've done percentage deals like this in the past, and still do if I find the right person.

    Sometimes you make a stack of cash... sometimes you make nothing.

    But as a competent copywriter and business person, I make sure my "partner" has:

    *A killer product
    *A solid amount of marketing assets to draw on (list, ad capital, etc), and finally
    *A ton of knowledge about marketing (and usually previous successes)

    And it's usually on a 50/50 basis.

    After all... I'm putting just as much on the line as s/he is... so if things work out, I want to be damn well compensated.

    And I'm going to do my best to make sure I give myself the best possible chance of things working out by ensuring I choose the right person to work with.

    That's not including all the stuff John mentioned (access to books etc).

    At the end of the day... a partnership is a massive undertaking. It's not a decision I take lightly... nor (IMHO) should any copywriter enter into one without doing their homework on the prospective "client", just like clients do their homework on the copywriter they hire.

    My philosophy - good partners understand it's a give and take relationship, and they understand the unpredictability of business. Sometimes things bomb for reasons no one can understand.

    So when I see someone who wants us to basically guarantee results... it usually is a sign of someone who doesn't understand how things really work... and is a red flag.

    Not saying you're one of those people... just saying that to me (and others) that's how it's coming across.

    A final example...

    Remember the Old Spice ads that won all those awards? Those guys were paid a ton for that. Great campaign... and I'm sure they worked their asses off.

    It took sales DOWN seven percent.

    However... what if it took sales up even one percent? The fee those guys charged would have been a drop in the ocean, right?

    That's why good copywriters charge what they do. Because when they help you win... you win big.

    -Daniel
    Signature

    Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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    • Profile picture of the author Scoke
      Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post

      Pete,

      Hence why Vin recommend an up front fee + percentage deal. Keeps both of you focused and working hard.


      But as a competent copywriter and business person, I make sure my "partner" has:

      *A killer product
      *A solid amount of marketing assets to draw on (list, ad capital, etc), and finally
      *A ton of knowledge about marketing (and usually previous successes)

      And it's usually on a 50/50 basis.

      -Daniel
      This is actually really helpful. It lets me know what I need to do to hold up my end of the bargain. It's a great starting point for me.

      And, I agree that a blended model is fair for both me and the copywriter. I have no issue with this. What seems unfair is giving the copywriter all the money upfront with no risk on his/her part...I'm seeing some arguments here in the thread that the risk around the reputation is significant enough incentive...For someone who has been in the business for a while, they've built equity in their reputation...Hmm... Maybe...But, that's not as convincing as paying the person based on the results they actually produce.
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      • Profile picture of the author OnlineMasterMind
        Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

        What seems unfair is giving the copywriter all the money upfront with no risk on his/her part...
        It's not unfair. It's simply paying for a service. No more and no less.

        And if you're paying upfront you can arrange for no overrides and assume all the rewards.

        But getting money up front is guaranteeing that worse case, the copywriter who knows his value is NOT going to end up working for free.

        You have to understand that many people simply won't do enough to even uncover whether or not the copy works. In fact, you could give 99% of people a proven website and sales page (when it's brand new)... and they won't know what to do with it. For example, you could give them any cb #1 best seller... websites, sales page, product... and go there a year later and you'll see a parked domain page.

        Does that not make sense? If you knew with conviction you could generate results... why would you be open to working with an unproven stranger with no money upfront? Anyone who does that is gotta be hard up for money or delusional.

        Now, if we're talking about a client who has a proven track record and has already had success... totally different story. You can definitely find a solid copywriter... Who you can get just depends on how much success you've had and how well you negotiate.

        Finally... I will say it is possible for someone in your shoes to find someone good with no money up front but you need to have an eye for talent. With the person you're looking for, the results they're inevitably going to produce haven't manifested yet... So if you can spot good copy and catch them before their worth is proven... it's possible... Just a lot more difficult because most good copywriters aren't open to this because of reasons I mentioned.

        Good luck
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    Not to put too fine a point on an already sharp discussion, but there's a pretty big elephant in the middle of this thread.

    And here it is (with absolutely no offense intended to the OP)

    Almost invariably, those most hell-bent on performance guarantees are the LEAST likely to have the experience and/or resources to properly leverage the creative output of whomever they might retain as their copywriter.

    As Stephen Dean astutely points out above, great copy is a sales multiplier, not a panacea. Great sales copy can sell more for you, and better - but no salesperson can sell without a steady stream of qualified leads. Just can't happen.

    Vin said it clearly here, "You're paying to stack the deck in your favor"

    Find me a copywriter who has worked for any length of time and has not run into (too many) clients that fumble the ball repeatedly all the way down the field, then turn it over at the goal line.

    It sucks for everyone when that happens.

    That's why highly-paid pros are picky about with whom, when and how we work.

    We don't know who Scoke is, and he isn't telling.

    We have no way of knowing what kind of business Scoke operates.

    We have zero clue whether Scoke can drive 10 targeted visitors or 100,000.

    None of us do - he hasn't given us any indication - at least not in the context of his appeal for a professional to engage with him. I'd presume he'll be happy to share all that and more during consultation.

    But the discussion will never get that far for many... it's a non-starter.

    Why?

    Because we're all freakin' busy sweating over our current clients life or death crises already - we don't need a new hand to hold, especially not while we bleed out for you.

    In terms of a "Teachable Moment", those seeking a spec deal from a professional copywriter who earns a decent living should consider filling in those gaps above.

    I sincerely hope that Scoke finds a writer who can hit it out of the park for him...

    ...and I hope whomever he hires gets a client with the wherewithal to make the most of what you create together.

    Call me a cynic, but I'm not optimistic.

    Best to all,

    Brian McLeod
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    • Profile picture of the author Scoke
      Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

      We don't know who Scoke is, and he isn't telling.
      For the record, I'm a woman..One clear example of all the incorrect assumptions made about me...
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      • Profile picture of the author WillDL
        Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

        For the record, I'm a woman..One clear example of all the incorrect assumptions made about me...
        Not an assumption. English does not have a gender neutral pronoun. It is technically correct to use the masculine when gender is unknown.


        And now I'm done with this thread because we are all nit picking like grade schoolers. Everyone have a great weekend.
        Signature

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      • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
        Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

        For the record, I'm a woman..One clear example of all the incorrect assumptions made about me...
        Apologies.

        One clear example of all the things none of us can know about you until you tell us.
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  • Profile picture of the author WillDL
    Scoke, the rule I've always heard (not a professional copy writer, I just work with them) is never write copy unless you are happy to write it for the money you get upfront. Because more people than not will screw you on the percentage. I hope you get someone in a deal that works for you, but let me give you something to think about.

    Most copy writers with a solid record won't to work on a percentage with people they don't know. It isn't a matter of not trusting their work. It's a matter of not trusting the person. I know people that put in 80+ hours on a sales letter. That's a lot to ask on your word as someone new to the fields.

    Sure you could absolutely set it up to be safe for the other player but that's a whole lot of extra work. Unless that copy writer knows something we don't (you haven't provided much detail on your product) and think you have the next hundred million dollar product, why take on that extra work on two uncertainties? People jumping blind at a % cut probably don't have a lot of experience.

    When I started I wanted the same kind of deal. And no body worth their salt stepped up to accept it. But I got a lot of hacks who sounded really good. Know what happened to me? Nothing. Never got a single completed piece of copy from any of them. The second they got a paying gig, or their kid got sick, or their favorite show came on I got pushed to the backburner. The problem of maybe money later just wasn't enough to get them moving. So I used real, pay up front, established copy writers. I got great results.

    The damndest thing is now many of them are willing (even suggest) taking percentages instead of upfront fees. Now they trust me. We have solid two year plus relationships. They trust me, know I don't put my name on crap and know my checks cash. And I have no interest anymore. The cost of copywriting is almost always recouped in 72 hours. It would cost me so much more to raise their long term from 1.5% to 15%.

    Best of luck, I hope you find someone that works out for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
    Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

    I'm relatively new to WF and --I need to hire someone to write a sales page for my product. All the copywriters I've spoken to (so far) want their fee before or upon delivery, with no guarantees around conversion.

    BUT, how on earth do I know that after I've given the copywriter my $3000 (or, $5000 or $10000 or whatever)--and they walk away, that the page will convert? I'm not a gambler, and I AM willing to pay for a sales page that works. I'm NOT willing to pay for a page that doesn't.

    How can I align the copywriter's economic incentive with mine? Thoughts anyone?
    First of all, copywriting is a professional service business. And no professional service is "only pay if you're happy". Try pulling that with your dentist or mechanic and see how that turns out for you. I'm pretty sure it won't be in a direction of your liking.

    Back to copywriting.

    No copywriter ever gets 100% hits. No one, not even me. If I did, my fee would be one million dollars up front plus a hefty lifetime royalty. And there would be a line a block long of businesses & clients eager to hire me because of the 100% hit rate.

    But no one hits 100% of the time so hiring a professional copywriter is a calculated business risk.

    Like any calculated business risk, you can do all of the right things and still not see a your business succeed.

    What you do get with an experienced copywriter is a significantly higher chance of success than if you hired a novice copywriter or attempted to write the copy yourself (assuming you aren't a skilled copywriter yourself).

    The pro copywriter is far more likely to know how to best position and sell your product.

    The pro copywriter is far more likely to identify any holes in your marketing plan that could kill your response rates if left uncorrected.

    What the pro copywriter doesn't have is an abundance of free time.

    Most of the top copywriters I know don't work on more than 1-2 projects per month because of how much TIME and mental energy they invest in each one.

    In terms of copywriters for hire... it's a sellers market.

    There are more businesses and prospective clients looking for copywriting help than there are high-quality copywriters available for hire.

    It's been that way since I decided to start accepting copywriting clients 5 years ago. It's going to be that way 50 years from now too.

    That means the copywriters that are in demand can name their price and their terms of doing business. That's neither good nor bad... that's just how it is.

    As for the copy not converting, most copywriters I know will work with their clients to correct any underperforming salesletter that they wrote.

    If you're paying them a flat fee then there's a finite amount of follow-up work they will do after the project is delivered. Each copywriter is different on what that is and it's typically spelled out on their website as part of their terms of doing business.

    If you're paying them a fee plus royalty, then they will continue to tweak and work with you to improve the conversion rates over time because ultimately both of you will make more money that way.

    So that's my advice to you: If you're worried about the copy not converting, then hire a copywriter for a flat fee (covers their overhead until your project is completed and/or launches) and a royalty for ongoing help to get it converting well.

    Hope that helps,

    Mike

    P.S. As a few other people have mentioned directly or indirectly, a copywriter's professional reputation is priceless. The top-notch copywriters who have been doing this for more than one year understand this completely. They won't take on projects that they don't believe have a strong chance of success. They won't do things that will damage their professional reputation. They have worked too hard for too long to throw their career away over a few thousand dollars.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers work on contingency. If they don't win the case, you don't pay.

      What's that you say... they only take cases that have a good shot of winning?

      Exactly.

      Copywriters who work using a results-based model should do the same... vet their potential client and project thoroughly before accepting the assignment.

      Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
        Criminal defense attorneys do not, however. They are paid based on track record and reputation.

        So... on one hand you've got creative professionals paid fairly for being a step above the pack... and on the other hand you have ambulance chasing bottom feeders.

        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

        Personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers work on contingency. If they don't win the case, you don't pay.

        What's that you say... they only take cases that have a good shot of winning?

        Exactly.

        Copywriters who work using a results-based model should do the same... vet their potential client and project thoroughly before accepting the assignment.

        Alex
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        • Profile picture of the author WillDL
          Originally Posted by MontelloMarketing View Post

          and on the other hand you have ambulance chasing bottom feeders.
          Absolutely uncool use of stereotype.
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      • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

        Personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers work on contingency. If they don't win the case, you don't pay.
        They also take 33-40% of the pretax award.

        There's very few business owners or marketers who would be willing to give up that much of their sales to their copywriter.

        Speaking of attorneys... Criminal defense attorneys require 100% payment upfront, regardless of the outcome of the case.

        Mike
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        • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
          Originally Posted by MikeHumphreys View Post

          They also take 33-40% of the pretax award.

          There's very few business owners or marketers who would be willing to give up that much of their sales to their copywriter.

          Speaking of attorneys... Criminal defense attorneys require 100% payment upfront, regardless of the outcome of the case.

          Mike
          Doesn't negate the fact that some professionals work on contingency... and that was my point.

          Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author Scoke
        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

        Copywriters who work using a results-based model should do the same... vet their potential client and project thoroughly before accepting the assignment.

        Alex
        I think this is the crux of the matter for me.

        I happily welcome the honest, authentic conversation with a sales writer who says, "You know what, I don't think this is a viable project. So, I'm going to decline working with you."

        This stance and attitude has a lot of integrity and credibility in my book. My concern is that copywriters on the upfront structure have the incentive to take the project even if it has no chance of succeeding. It's not at all that they are bad or dishonest people, but most human beings are just not going to walk away from thousands of dollars in cash.

        On the other hand, on the contingency structure, they ONLY have the incentive to take the project if it's likely to succeed.

        It's not personal, this is the way human beings function.

        Okay, okay, maybe the reputation thing does outweigh the economics...But, I'm skeptical.
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        • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
          Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

          I happily welcome the honest, authentic conversation with a sales writer who says, "You know what, I don't think this is a viable project. So, I'm going to decline working with you."
          The irony here is... that's exactly what you've gotten in this thread - from some very experienced, very highly-paid copywriters.

          You just didn't realize it because it wasn't worded exactly that way.

          Scoke, you're clearly intelligent, focused and unafraid of bucking opposing thought or convention. Those are GOOD qualities in an entrepreneur and in a potential business partner.

          That's a HUGE leap ahead of the never-ending parade of fools who trot in here demanding spec deals from professional copywriters "if they're so good..."

          Don't squander that advantage. Let us help you...

          Tell us what you're bringing to the table beyond your smarts and chutzpah.

          Is the product ready for market? Have you sold any yet?

          What's your marketing plan look like?

          If you don't have those things up to snuff yet, again... let us help you.

          By being a little vulnerable, you'll gain strength from the group.

          I know the folks who've taken you to task in this thread well enough to say with confidence that every one of them would like to see you succeed.

          Note: We're not PM'ing you looking for your $3k.

          We're trying to help you by giving it to you straight up - no BS.

          I don't know how much more direct I could be without coming off as a complete jerk (as opposed to only sort of jerk).

          Brian
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          • Profile picture of the author Scoke
            I understand. I'm re-reading the thread and thinking carefully about about who to contact next week. I am concerned about how much information to share and with whom. And, I'm completely unwilling to put details about my product here. Thanks for the encouragement.

            Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post


            Don't squander that advantage. Let us help you...

            Brian
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            • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
              Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

              I understand. I'm re-reading the thread and thinking carefully about about who to contact next week. I am concerned about how much information to share and with whom. And, I'm completely unwilling to put details about my product here. Thanks for the encouragement.
              I understand completely.

              A couple helpful points.

              First, very few copywriters write for every single niche. There are niches that aren't of interest to us... there are niches and topics that we have zero desire to spend 40+ hours researching and writing marketing for, regardless of the potential fee gained.

              Second, letting us know the generalities of your copywriting needs (niche, project delivery date, etc.) helps the right copywriters contact you. It can be a huge waste of your time to talk to copywriters who aren't interested in your type of project, can't meet your deadline, or budget preferences/requirements.

              Third, I believe almost every copywriter keeps what a potential client or paying client confidential. I know do, regardless of whether I take on a project.

              Finally, in terms of stealing your product idea... not likely. Besides the obvious breach of ethics... Most copywriters aren't interested in being info-product marketers too. This thread spells out a lot of the reasons why: http://www.warriorforum.com/copywrit...opywriter.html

              Those of us who do create our info-products... we're developing our own "brilliant ideas"... it's a separate burst of personal creativity outside of writing client copy.

              At least that's my opinion on it.

              Hope that helps,

              Mike
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            • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
              Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

              I understand. I'm re-reading the thread and thinking carefully about about who to contact next week. I am concerned about how much information to share and with whom. And, I'm completely unwilling to put details about my product here. Thanks for the encouragement.
              I've been following this thread with some interest and it surprises me, nay, shocks me even that someone who needs a sales letter and wants to contact people has no idea how to build rapport with anyone and instill confidence within the copywriters here that YOU are worth having as a client.

              And from your responses, I don't think you're going to find many who'll take you up on that. And your unwillingness to share information (while we respect you want to keep your cards to your chest) is being viewed with suspicion. Are you just playing games with everyone? Or do you just love winding people up?

              Most copywriters worth their salt have impeccable client-relationship records because it's a TWO-WAY process. I'm not saying you'd make a bad client, but I get the impression you'd probably be the type of client who would want to chop and change copy, would ignore professional advice (as you've already shown) and would probably just disgruntle and annoy everyone.

              We're a pretty intuitive bunch and we know the deeper reasons why people behave the way they do, and I think you play with us and enjoy the banter, which may be amusing to you, but is actually very annoying to everyone else. I would certainly have no hesitation in firing a client - I've enough stress in my life without an unreasonable client adding to it. Thanks but no thanks.

              And as for the irritating comments where you keep going on about trust and conversions blah blah, let me put it to you like this.

              If you had for arguments sake a serious heart condition and needed surgery, you'd surely want to have the best surgeon no?

              You'd check his credentials and his record and you wouldn't care how much you paid him, since he was going to help save your life - yes?

              Could the surgeon guarantee that you're going to make it through surgery? No.

              Can he guarantee you'll live a long life? I don't think so.

              Why not? After all, you've paid top dollars haven't you? You can't guarantee success because it depends on factors OUTSIDE the control of the surgeon such as how healthy you are, your weight, gender, hormones, habits etc.

              And would you proceed to then argue, irritate, question and annoy the surgeon and start questioning his ethics or his intentions? You most certainly wouldn't, and if you did start your barrage on any self-respecting surgeon, he would most likely show you the door.

              Copywriting isn't heart surgery, but the analogy is the same. It's complicated and affected by LOTS of factors OUTSIDE the control of the copywriter - and all those factors are more than likely controlled or affected by YOU the marketer.

              Having the best copywriter on board greatly increases your chances of success. But with the best will in the world, no one is that desperate to work with someone who has little respect for the ones whose help she's after.
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        • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

          This stance and attitude has a lot of integrity and credibility in my book. My concern is that copywriters on the upfront structure have the incentive to take the project even if it has no chance of succeeding. It's not at all that they are bad or dishonest people, but most human beings are just not going to walk away from thousands of dollars in cash.

          On the other hand, on the contingency structure, they ONLY have the incentive to take the project if it's likely to succeed.

          It's not personal, this is the way human beings function.

          Okay, okay, maybe the reputation thing does outweigh the economics...But, I'm skeptical.
          Personally, I couldn't care less whether or not $5k or $10k or name your figure is on the table. I would never just take your money and run with it. It goes against my own personal ethics to even consider such a notion. Such a thing wouldn't even enter into my mind. What do you think I am/we are, a bunch of common thieves?

          Another instance like this one Scoke where you wish to cast such aspersions upon the copywriting community here in general, you might want to do some research first. Ascertain for yourself to whom you are referring here.

          Many of the guys replying to you in this thread are world class copywriters in their own right. They've generated millions of dollars worth of sales revenue for their clients. And as professional copywriters... they uphold to very high standards of professional conduct.

          Let me make this abundantly clear...

          No amount of money on offer would entice me to even consider taking you on as a client given your previous replies. I'd run a mile and the rest in the opposite direction.

          A copywriter / client relationship is a two way, not a one way street. I think you very seriously under-estimate the sheer amount of experience of the copywriters on this thread. Not just in copywriting but their marketing prowess too.

          And to point out Ray Edwards remarks specifically clearly demonstrates a very succinct lack of respect for one of the top copywriters around.

          Ridiculous assertions huh? Do you seriously want to go there?

          You might want to switch the mirror around coming out with a comment such as that one next time!

          Nothing for me to lose telling you straight since I simply don't want your business. Call it gut instinct... You'd be trouble. And just to put you in the loop... yes I do turn down thousands of dollars worth of business regularly.

          For any one of a number of reasons in fact from... Knowing that I'm not the best copywriter for this particular niche so I'll recommend someone else to them, to...

          Niches which hold zero interest to me, which I cannot under any circumstances get excited about - sex, gambling, war and weapons, financial niches etc - they all get turned down automatically.

          Please for your own good Scoke... you're obviously quite smart (if a little naive) do your research first on the pro copywriters on this forum, rather than just jumping in with really, rather quite loopy remarks...

          But, I couldn't resist. I just couldn't. The point of my last reply is that you guys are making some ridiculous assertions. The assertion in Raydal's post that I'd complain about paying someone $50K who has just helped me make $950K is just plain silly. But, it was stated as though it was gospel.
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      • Profile picture of the author MassiveMedia
        Definitely agree. Both sides of the party should review the project and if it seems like a deal on both sides. Small upfront fee and percentage after the fact.
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        • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
          Years ago, I used to be in the systems integration business. As a general rule, project overruns were considered the norm in our industry.

          I changed up the game in my company, and added guarantees.

          Guarantee #1: We guaranteed a fixed price for the project.

          Guarantee #2: We guaranteed a firm completion date.

          Guarantee #3: We guaranteed that if the client was dissatisfied with the system for whatever reason, we would refund all their money--hardware as well as software and services.

          My competition didn't know how to counter.

          Because they didn't know what I knew. We had done our due dilgence, we had done our research, the potential client opened their books and facilities up to us in all sorts of relevant ways.

          I called it "a discovery process."

          Now your question may be this: Did I ever have to refund money?

          The answer is YES. In the 15 years since I added the guarantees, I had one project where I had to refund $200,000.

          It's a long story, but the bottom line was that there was something out of our control. The software vendor was sold to a multinational corporation and they fumbled the release of a new version of their software.

          So were the implementation of guarantees worth it? Yes.

          But I can tell you this: Scoke is not alone in the world.

          The only question I have is whether Scoke will make it worth a copywriter's while, since even a decent copywriter has opportunities crossing his desk everyday, if he's not otherwise working on his own projects.

          In other words, I charged a premium for my guarantees in my systems integration business. High, but not exhorbitant enough to lose the sale.

          Also--one of the things that happens when you start implementing guarantees is you get VERY discriminating about which projects you take on. During the discovery process, at the slightest sense of "something's not right" I respectfully decline.

          Otherwise, I'm all in.

          ---

          I have a partner and he recently took on a project which we'll be collaborating on.

          He guaranteed to the client the piece will convert.

          I have no problem with that. I know the industry. I understand the market. I know what the product is. And I know who the major competitors are.

          If the project doesn't convert right out of the gate and we have to roll up our sleeves? So be it.

          Personally, I find the marketing/copywriting breakthroughs come in that "last mile" of getting a piece to convert anyway. I rather enjoy the challenge, even if it is time consuming. Besides, I'll take the learning with me to the next project. So I really don't mind.

          ---

          Now is guaranteeing conversions always possible? No. And that's exactly when it's time to either pass on a deal OR for everyone involved to accept the deal and the known risks associated.

          Either scenario is acceptable.

          ---

          Please understand, I know what I'm saying is rather contrarian and maybe even heretical. Honestly, I agree with everything that's been said here as a copywriting/marketing professional.

          I'm just offering another way to look Scoke's situation.

          If someone like Scoke is able to ante up and offer a meaningful piece of the backend, I say let's investigate further and see if there's a viable, potentially profitable project there.

          - Rick Duris

          PS: There are three other side benefits of thinking this way. But I've said enough for now.
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  • Profile picture of the author kellyburdes
    I don't understand why any sane business person would want to take on any extra partners, and give up any penny of equity beyond the minimum requirement.

    Even if you get the world's greatest copywriter to take you on (and you won't) at 20%, in the long run you'd be a hell of a lot better off to have paid 10 guys $3000 to fail!

    Any business person who doesn't understand that isn't worth working with.

    I'll lay out an example to try to make it more clear for you.

    I have heard rumors that Vin has a sales letter doing around $250,000 per month, month after month, for a client. (If I'm wrong about this please correct me, I don't know Vin, I'm just going by memory on something I seem to recall having been posted here in the past).

    I don't know what Vin's fee's are, but a lot of people at his level charge $25,000 to $50,000 up front, and then 3 to 5% of sales. Let's just for the sake of this example say he was $50K and and 5%, the most expensive examples.

    Over the course of the first year your paying $200,000.

    Or you could go and give him 20%, in which case your paying $50,000 each and every month - $600,000 a year! You could have half a dozen guys in a row flop and still come out ahead on the deal.

    Which would you rather do?

    So - This whole thing of if a copywriter believes in his writing he will work on performance only - it can be thrown right back at you too.

    If you, as a vendor believe in your product and your ability to manage your business, why in the heck do you want to give up so much? Unless your insane or the writer is your worthless son in law I can't think of a good reason. Can you?
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by kellyburdes View Post

      I don't understand why any sane business person would want to take on any extra partners, and give up any penny of equity beyond the minimum requirement.

      Even if you get the world's greatest copywriter to take you on (and you won't) at 20%, in the long run you'd be a hell of a lot better off to have paid 10 guys $3000 to fail!

      Any business person who doesn't understand that isn't worth working with.
      They do it because they don't have the money to hire a quality copywriter up front.

      You don't understand that?

      Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author kellyburdes
        I understand that, but as you yourself pointed out in a prior post, a writer who does take clients on spec is likely to carefully vet them and make sure they can hold up their end.

        I find it unlikely that someone who is able to hold up that end is going to be in a situation where cashflow is so bad they can't come up with $3000 to hire a decent writer.

        And any person who is giving up equity in situations except where it's essential is a business idiot...maybe a great marketer, the two don't always go together, but they are a business mgnt idiot.


        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

        They do it because they don't have the money to hire a quality copywriter up front.

        You don't understand that?

        Alex
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        • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
          Originally Posted by kellyburdes View Post

          I understand that, but as you yourself pointed out in a prior post, a writer who does take clients on spec is likely to carefully vet them and make sure they can hold up their end.

          I find it unlikely that someone who is able to hold up that end is going to be in a situation where cashflow is so bad they can't come up with $3000 to hire a decent writer.

          And any person who is giving up equity in situations except where it's essential is a business idiot...maybe a great marketer, the two don't always go together, but they are a business mgnt idiot.
          One of the great advantages of starting an internet business is it can easily be done for less than $1,000.

          Add the cost of a quality copywriter, however, and it's a bunch more money to get started.

          So the person who only has $1,000 isn't insane or an idiot. They're smart, because by hiring a copywriter on spec, they've found a way to succeed bigger.

          Alex
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          • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
            Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

            One of the great advantages of starting an internet business is it can easily be done for less than $1,000.

            Add the cost of a quality copywriter, however, and it's a bunch more money to get started.

            So the person who only has $1,000 isn't insane or an idiot. They're smart, because by hiring a copywriter on spec, they've found a way to succeed bigger.

            Alex
            98% of the copywriters I know wouldn't take on a spec project, especially from a start-up. There's too many things out of the copywriter's control that can go wrong.

            Every 6-7 figure online marketer that I've ever written for or become friends with has the ability to write their own copy.

            Some of them have developed their copywriting skills to the point of being equal to professional level copywriter.

            It's a skill they developed early on when they couldn't afford to hire a quality copywriter.

            Food for thought,

            Mike

            P.S. To the OP... if you opt to go the route of self-study, there's a sticky thread here in the copywriting forum on recommended copywriting books that is worth your time to read.
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            • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
              Originally Posted by MikeHumphreys View Post

              98% of the copywriters I know wouldn't take on a spec project, especially from a start-up. There's too many things out of the copywriter's control that can go wrong.
              Well, as I said earlier, it's necessary to properly vet the potential client.

              I'm working with a start-up client now, and we are going to "kill it".

              Alex
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            • Profile picture of the author kellyburdes
              This is a point that I hope more people pay attention too.

              Those of us who develop six and seven figure business online tend to invest the time and effort to learn to be good at most area's of the business, be that product development, traffic, copy or any of half a dozen other skills and talents.

              The best marketers I know are all exceptional copywriters, and just as Mike said could easily write their own copy - but choose to put energy into other area's of the business.

              For myself I've long since passed the point that if I was doing what was most
              efficient I would hire writers - my problem is that writing copy is probably my favorite part of the business aside from actually researching the stock market and picking equites/options to trade.

              In one way this holds me back, but in another it keeps me going by keeping my passion in my business.



              Originally Posted by MikeHumphreys View Post


              Every 6-7 figure online marketer that I've ever written for or become friends with has the ability to write their own copy.
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              • Profile picture of the author Ansar Pasha
                Banned
                Originally Posted by kellyburdes View Post

                This is a point that I hope more people pay attention too.

                Those of us who develop six and seven figure business online tend to invest the time and effort to learn to be good at most area's of the business, be that product development, traffic, copy or any of half a dozen other skills and talents.

                The best marketers I know are all exceptional copywriters, and just as Mike said could easily write their own copy - but choose to put energy into other area's of the business.

                For myself I've long since passed the point that if I was doing what was most
                efficient I would hire writers - my problem is that writing copy is probably my favorite part of the business aside from actually researching the stock market and picking equites/options to trade.

                In one way this holds me back, but in another it keeps me going by keeping my passion in my business.
                Completely agree with you and Mike.

                ... In fact, sometimes I even find myself with a kickass concept... and begin writing the copy for a non existent product!

                The plus side though, is that I know what it takes to also create a great offer in the first place. Too many times I've had people come to me with novelty or crappy products and think copywriting is the "magic pill".

                I agree with most business owners learning skills that will pay themselves off - I think copywriting is one of them (unless you've got a huge team lined up to handle all your problems professionally and the way you want it done).

                It's not just about the money either... I know a lot of the writers here are booked out weeks, sometimes months in advance... and as a business owner, that's time I don't have to spend waiting around.

                Dean Jackson (Not Ebens writer, hangs out on WF time to time) has this philosophy too and it's served us both well as partners in our online projects.

                Good discussion.

                Ansar
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
      Originally Posted by kellyburdes View Post

      I don't understand why any sane business person would want to take on any extra partners, and give up any penny of equity beyond the minimum requirement.
      Money isn't everything. Some people enjoy their business a lot more if they're working with others.

      And that's without mentioning the obvious increase in brain power (two heads are better than one, etc).

      Not saying it's the right business model for everyone...

      Just saying that IMHO it's not "crazy" to bring partners on. I know some of my businesses are growing like crazy since I did.

      -Daniel
      Signature

      Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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    • Profile picture of the author Scoke
      Originally Posted by kellyburdes View Post

      I don't understand why any sane business person would want to take on any extra partners, and give up any penny of equity beyond the minimum requirement.
      I believe the compensation structure significantly influences the likely success of the deal. So, it's not an apples to apples comparison. Of course if the probability of success is the same in both cases, the smart thing to do is to hire the copywriter outright, but I don't believe that's the case. --That's the point of this thread.

      Moreover, lots of very sane, very smart people take on business partners because no single person can do everything on their own. And, I'd take business partner who is truly interested in the health and growth of the business we're in together over a hired gun who's a "wham bam thank you ma'am" any day of the week.

      I want to do what I'm good at and makes me happy, and I want to give other people the opportunity to do what they're good at and makes them happy.

      There's more than one way to achieve success. Different people have different values. I'm just looking for a copywriter who values the same things that I do, and I cast no aspersions on people who have a different point of view.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Everybody is probably on the same page, but It seems everyone might be talking about copywriters with different experience levels.

    I read once in a library book that...

    ...a copywriter charging $3000.00 for a sales letter could probably care less about royalties.

    A copywriter that's had more experience and is dealing with bigger clients is probably mainly working on a fee to reserve his time, and then an advance on the royalties.

    Depending where scoke's level of business experience is - will probably determine the experience level of the copywriter that she'll be able to hire.
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    I don't see the problem with this kind of deal.

    Based on this scenario, I am the investor. I hold all the cards. You either do as I say, when I say or it is no deal.

    And like it or not, you have to prove yourself to me. Not the other way around.

    Now, the people who thought this was a one-way street have a big fat problem with this kind of deal. They can't put up their end of the investment.

    ...Bring a solid, long standing reputation and expert status to the table, then the calculation changes.

    ...Bring a 10,000 or 20,000 or 50,000 name house list of people who've bought already, the calculation changes.

    ...Slide $20,000 for, I dunno, research and development of bankend products and seminars (or whatever relates to the actual product or service) ready to go once conversion goals are reached, then the calculation changes.

    Problem is, the people proposing this kind of deal fairly never have anything to offer of interest to a copywriter.

    They bring to the table (not every time, but often enough) a poorly designed product without market research or a clear target buyer.

    They bring to the table a love of and unwillingness to change the product. Along with a magical idea copywriters change human nature and bend customers to their will.

    They bring to the table embarassingly low financial horsepower for rollouts and expansion. One guy wanted to sell a million units of some invention. So I said "fine, pretend you now have one million orders ...show me how you could possibly fill 'em before the feds get called in to investigate?"

    Combine all this together and it is a no-go.
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  • Profile picture of the author kellyburdes
    Btw, I just realized that my post above, #59 on this thread is more geared towards a general annoyance I'm having right now with all of the people who think they can make all kinds of "passive income" on the net and get rich while outsources their entire business, sip fruity drinks on the beach, never have to work and travel about the world, not the OP who started this thread.

    I know literally dozens of people who have become rich selling that fantasy- but exactly one who has managed to do so following it - and even she worked like a dog for almost 3 years to put herself in the position that it was possible.

    The four hour work week is a cleverly titled book - but it's not a lifestyle reality for people who create real business and wealth.

    My older brother is 38, I'm 34 and my younger sister is 30.

    Then there is our baby brother, who we have affectionately named "whoops". He is 19 and going into his junior year at the University of Wyoming.

    If I was to describe him as spoiled that would probably be very generous.

    Sadly Mark, that's Whoop's real name - has fallen victim to the four hour, passive income fantasy.

    He's forever telling me how silly I am to work 60/70 hours a week, sometimes over 100 during the busy week of a product launch, because everything could be automated and outsourced cheaply to India or the Philippines- why don't I do that.

    It seems not much to matter to Whoops that I, following my old school archaic and very uncool method's have generated over seven figures in sales the last several years.

    During that same period of time he has managed to turn the $3500 I loaned him, hoping to give him the start up capital required to actually put together a real business, into $650 since December.(I've been diligently watching for his "How to lose money online quick" WSO)

    Oh well, I feel much better now. Thanks for listening to me whine guys
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    "And, I'm completely unwilling to put details about my product here."

    Of course you are. The preable to the inventor's ballad "It was ahead of its time."

    To a copywriter or marketer, this is not encouraging. It does not telegraph here is a super special opportunity. It telegraphs an unwillingness to test core assumptions and do basic market research, for fear the secret will be revealed.

    I am not discouraging anyone. Just pointing out how it reads from the other side of the table.

    Far more people have failed chasing some big idea than did by revealing it and getting copied. And, truth be told, if it is that easily copied, it's not worthwhile. Big guys will still rip you off, and see you in court. ...by which time they have dissolved the company you're suing, moved the assets out, and are busily ripping off someone else.

    Anyway, Okay - I'll play, show your market research efforts, your user testing and thoughtful redesign to improve the marketability of the product ...and you can keep what it actually is to yourself.

    I'll make this plain and simple.

    Show, in no uncertain terms, your analysis of the market, the niche, the desire. (You do not need to reveal the niche to describe your work researching it).

    Show your insight into a specific target segment; the motives, the drives, the pain in need of relief.

    Show your testing, your methodology for proving out your idea. (You can do this and still reveal nothing about the idea itself.)

    Now. You know and I know you can't show what isn't there. What it is isn't important. That there is poor to nonexistent market research and user insight is all we need to know. And we don't have to know what it is to know what isn't there.

    And isn't that what you're really afraid to reveal?

    Anyone with a lick of experience has discovered secrecy works well to keep information from getting in ...Marketing ...Design ...User feedback. ...and Outside Advice. When you have no money, it's best to reveal the idea, get valuable feedback, refine the product until it squeeks, and build your competitive advantage by getting closer to the customer than the well funded copycats.

    If it can't stand up to being revealed it isn't worth revealing. Because it won't last five seconds in the marketplace.
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  • Profile picture of the author JustSomeWarrior
    I have only ever written my own copy for the OM businesses I was responsible for. I would never even consider working without significant compensation up front. A percentage deal is fine, but I've got to be paid for each hour I spend on the project. Period.
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  • Profile picture of the author Doceye
    Scoke, I don't know you from Adam ... and I harbor no ill will toward you personally. But your obstinacy in paying attention to professional opinion you actively sought, is beyond puzzling to me.

    Do you honestly think you're going to succeed in any endeavor with the attitude that you can determine how much risk a partner will or should accept?

    You've cleverly danced around the many cogent responses brought to you by members surrounding this issue ... and still you run back to your original position.

    Let's say it's any other scenario; to heck with copywriting. How long do you think you're going to keep any partner(s) interested in what you're doing with such a close-to-the-vest, you-absorb-as-much-risk-as-I-decide business attitude?

    So many of the cats on this board have taken time out of their day, most without any desire to take your money, to try and help you out. Yet you persist in maintaining your initial stance. That's not the sign of a thinking person. And your writing suggests you are far above average intelligence.

    So I'm left wondering what exactly you're up to.

    And frankly, I don't think anyone here knows ... including, possibly, you.

    In the end, what you're doing is virtually guaranteeing not as much success as was initially possible. And that makes me a bit sad.

    I wish I could say, good luck. But frankly your tact of baiting professional, learned opinion and then stamping your feet when you dislike the answer is unsettling.

    And with that, I am out.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Originally Posted by Scoke View Post


    BUT, how on earth do I know that after I've given the copywriter my $3000 (or, $5000 or $10000 or whatever)--and they walk away, that the page will convert? I'm not a gambler, and I AM willing to pay for a sales page that works. I'm NOT willing to pay for a page that doesn't.

    How can I align the copywriter's economic incentive with mine? Thoughts anyone?
    Interestingly, after 10 years in this business of writing online
    copy for clients, I find that most clients who claim that they prefer
    to give you a percentage of the sales really DON'T want to.

    So if you did find your copywriter and the sales letter pulled in
    $1,000,000 you'll still find the 5% on sales hard to give up.

    Personally I guarantee rewrites to help improve sales but as
    has been repeated ad nauseam above, you cannot guarantee
    sales because of the marketing end that the copywriter
    doesn't control.

    A copywriter's best clients are really master marketers. They
    make us look better than we deserve.

    -Ray Edwards
    Signature
    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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    • Profile picture of the author Scoke
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      So if you did find your copywriter and the sales letter pulled in $1,000,000 you'll still find the 5% on sales hard to give up.
      Are you kidding? If my copywriter writes a letter that makes me $950K (net of the fee), I'd happily fly out to give him/her the $50K in whatever the desired form of currency happens to be. That's a grrrrrreeeat return. I'll take it any day of the week. Are there copywriters who can deliver this? That's the $1,000,000 question (forgive the pun--I'm not a copywriter or I wouldn't have started this thread)
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      • Profile picture of the author WillDL
        Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

        Are you kidding? If my copywriter writes a letter that makes me $950K (net of the fee), I'd happily fly out to give him/her the $50K in whatever the desired form of currency happens to be. That's a grrrrrreeeat return. I'll take it any day of the week. Are there copywriters who can deliver this? That's the $1,000,000 question (forgive the pun--I'm not a copywriter or I wouldn't have started this thread)
        To start the merry-go-round again the answer is a resounding maybe. Many of the copy writers who answered on this thread have some serious credentials and could right you a bad ass sales letter. But if your product is crap then no they won't create you a letter that will sell $1,000,000 worth of crap. I respect you don't want to give product details, but people can't give you a better answer to that question without them.

        I have two semi-related questions that I've been curious about.

        What % of gross sales do you feel is fair to offer a copywriter that is pure commission?

        What mechanisms would be in place to protect the copywriter?

        I think a candid, well thought out answer from you could completely change the tone of this thread. Your unwillingness to share details on the product, while not uncommon, puts a "just another newbie without the funds," taste in some peoples mouth. Being open about the details of a serious, potential arrangement could easily change that.
        Signature

        Occasionally Relevant.

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        • Profile picture of the author Scoke
          Originally Posted by WillDL View Post

          To start the merry-go-round again the answer is a resounding maybe.

          I have two semi-related questions that I've been curious about.

          What % of gross sales do you feel is fair to offer a copywriter that is pure commission?

          What mechanisms would be in place to protect the copywriter?
          You are right that I probably shouldn't have pushed the merry-go-round again. But, I couldn't resist. I just couldn't. The point of my last reply is that you guys are making some ridiculous assertions. The assertion in Raydal's post that I'd complain about paying someone $50K who has just helped me make $950K is just plain silly. But, it was stated as though it was gospel.

          My answer to your first question: I'm new to the market, so I don't know what pricing the market will bear. I'll find this out through negotiation.

          My answer to your second question: The structure suggested in reply #9 looks reasonable and fair.
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          • Profile picture of the author WillDL
            Let me start by saying that I'm not going to be making you offers to do anything. I'm not a copy writer, so I'm not fishing for myself. What I'm trying to do is give you the opportunity to address the concerns that real copywriters have. The responses to this thread prove they exist. If you look back many of the better copy writers around here are dismissing you as a potential client. I think you're serious and I was new not so long ago. This is the best way I can help you get what you want from a proven writer.


            Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

            My answer to your first question: I'm new to the market, so I don't know what pricing the market will bear. I'll find this out through negotiation.
            This feels like a cop out. You can't play everything close to the vest and expect to get bites. The more info you give, the more response you get. Let's consider your response to be a number you believe reasonable, and from wince you would start negotiations. For example I think for a solid product partnering with a proven copywriter I think 33.33% would be fair. If it where me as a copywriter I'd start negotiating at 50%. If I where you I'd start at 15%

            The thing is there are two markets.

            1) Newbies who are jumping at this and may or may not produce.

            2) The "potential market" of those copy writers who don't normally accept this kind of deal. It's up to you to convince them it's worth their time to talk about this deal. A number would help.

            Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

            My answer to your second question: The structure suggested in reply #9 looks reasonable and fair.
            I honestly think it is inadequate.

            It does not give any legal recourse for non payment other than getting their copy back. Would you be willing to sign a contract that gave the copywriter a lien on the product? Would you be willing to let the money flow through the copy writer to you? (In other words, would you trust them as much as you ask them to trust you.) The example of PI attorneys was brought up earlier in this thread. I happen to know that money flows through the attorney to the client.

            Then there is the issue of your resources. This is part of protecting the copy writer because it is a vital part of whether or not the will recoup their investment in you. Would you be willing to put $10,000 in an escrow account for marketing expenses to prove to your partner you have the liquidity to pull off a launch?


            These are the kinds of things a potential partner needs to know. I understand that you don't want to talk about your product in public. So to be treated seriously you need details that are not just repeated from someone else's post. Prove that you are thinking about making this work. Prove that you respect this potential partner. Expecting them to do all the work to come up with the terms of a proposal and make the copy with only what you've given so far in this thread doesn't show that respect. Without the green stuff respect is what is gonna get the big boys interested.
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          • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
            Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

            You are right that I probably shouldn't have pushed the merry-go-round again. But, I couldn't resist. I just couldn't. The point of my last reply is that you guys are making some ridiculous assertions. The assertion in Raydal's post that I'd complain about paying someone $50K who has just helped me make $950K is just plain silly. But, it was stated as though it was gospel.
            Sorry, I gotta strongly disagree with you.

            It's not a personal attack. It's a comment based on professional experiences.

            Ray L. Edwards is one of the most stand-up and ethical copywriters I've ever met. He's also got 10 years in the trenches as a professional copywriter so he's speaking from professional experience.

            I "only" have 5 years in the copywriting trenches myself but I'll second his point... it's far more common than you think for clients to balk about cutting a check for $2K... $20K... or $50K in royalties.

            It's far more common than you think for clients to complain about paying a copywriter's quoted fee for a new project even after that same copywriter has produced 6 or 7 figures (or more) in sales for them.

            One final point...

            You've had the opportunity to get suggestions and feedback from some of the best copywriters in the world in this thread.

            I wouldn't be so quick to call the information they are sharing "ridiculous assertions" when you are not a professional copywriter and do not know the industry as well as we do.

            A number of the people who have tried to help you in this thread have written marketing that has produced 6 figures... even 7 figures in less than a week. And yes, they have the proof to back those claims up.

            These are not fly-by-night copywriters. These are the types of people who can help get to your goals IF you treat them with the respect and professionalism that they deserve.

            Take care,

            Mike
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          • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
            Originally Posted by Scoke View Post

            The assertion in Raydal's post that I'd complain about paying someone $50K who has just helped me make $950K is just plain silly
            I can think of five copywriters off the top of my head - myself included - who are owed five figures in royalties we'll probably never see.

            Money makes people crazy, I guess.

            Just plain silly? Nope... happens all the time. And it's why any professional copywriter is very wary about teaming up with the right kind of client for a royalty deal.

            Here's a tip... good clients know sometimes things just don't work out. Every launch is a gamble. You can stack the deck in your favor... but that's about it.

            -Daniel
            Signature

            Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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  • Profile picture of the author Ansar Pasha
    Banned
    I don't think this is going to go anywhere... everyone's put in a word and "Scoke" seems dead set on trolling you guys... lol.

    Ansar
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    And from your responses, I don't think you're going to find many who'll take you up on that. And your unwillingness to share information (while we respect you want to keep your cards to your chest) is being viewed with suspicion. Are you just playing games with everyone? Or do you just love winding people up?
    This is the thing nowadays. And I for one do not think it is a game.

    First off, there is nothing wrong with some hard dealing. Basic negotiations.

    That's not happening. Business people are proposing things without understanding some basic negotiation tactics. The problem being these people are not playing a game.

    They are not aware of the game. They have no concept of how the game of business is played.

    Forget "pitching." It can always be argued if you're looking for a copywriter, a pitch might be off. People, in general, do not know the basic business skill of properly crafting a deal.

    All they know how to do is hire a flunky off craigslist to (looks up this week's candidate) "build me a Groupon" for no money, but some future profit.

    They do not realize the lack of business acumen they telegraph with every sentence speaks volumes about the likelyhood there will be ZERO profit. A business guy can make something work, even when what ends up working barely resembles the original idea. These people can not.

    And when you don't know what you're doing, it's easy to look for the price you pay to make up for sound judgement. Essentially, they are asking the people they deal with to accept a penalty while they gain some business sense.

    While expecting a lot of slack for themselves, they see nothing wrong with putting everyone else under a microscope. So with all due respect; in the scenario set forth, you are not paying the bills ...I am. You are cost. I am profit.
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    • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
      Originally Posted by John_S View Post

      They do not realize the lack of business acumen they telegraph with every sentence speaks volumes about the likelyhood there will be ZERO profit. A business guy can make something work, even when what ends up working barely resembles the original idea. These people can not.

      And when you don't know what you're doing, it's easy to look for the price you pay to make up for sound judgement. Essentially, they are asking the people they deal with to accept a penalty while they gain some business sense.

      While expecting a lot of slack for themselves, they see nothing wrong with putting everyone else under a microscope. So with all due respect; in the scenario set forth, you are not paying the bills ...I am. You are cost. I am profit.
      well said John - that's exactly what it is - they want to make as much money as possible at our expense, but if they did a rubbish job of marketing, we'd be in the firing line.

      A while back I had a client who gave me hell from the word go - he was NEVER happy no matter what I did. So, despite my best efforts to work with him to a solution where he was happy, he requested a refund, complaining about prices and how he felt he was being short changed.

      So, I gave him the refund despite the fact that over 20 hours had been put into the project. What about my time and the fact that I have to live and I have kids to feed?

      Why refund him? Because knowing him, he would have done his level best to spout at me and damage my reputation. I should have read the warning signs, but you make mistakes, learn and move on.

      We don't sell tangible goods to clients, but we sell something far greater - our time, experience and reputation. A lawyer charges a fortune but can't guarantee you'll win, but you still have to pay them.

      My eye surgeon told me minutes before I had laser that he couldn't guarantee that my eyes would be perfect, and so assuming this risk and weighing up all the facts, I went ahead and did it anyway- and have NEVER regretted it.

      I spent near enough $4500 for a procedure which took less than 10 minutes and which has given me better sight than my contact lenses did and returned my confidence in spades.

      What I got back in return for my investment is immeasurable as far as I'm concerned and I was told upfront what risk I was taking, in the same way we are all pointing the risks out to you. But you carry your own risk and expect to palm that off onto us, which is quite frankly, bizarre.

      Like an obese person wanting a gastric band, expecting the taxpayer to pay for it and then never changing their eating habits and complaining that the surgeon did a rubbish job because they're not as skinny as Nicole Ritchie! Like whatever. What about what YOU'RE willing to change or accept or do?

      Certain things in life can never be guaranteed Scoke, and that's the point of the thread. We've all given you solid advice, but it's what YOU do with it now that matters. My guess is you've left nothing on the table for anyone to even remotely consider you as a client.
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  • Profile picture of the author Zahzel
    Why don't you write it yourself? Go to the Library, Book Stores - offline and study this. Use the WF - ask them how it looks? Listen to podcasts and get your own ideas.
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  • Profile picture of the author om4457
    Try to also trust your intuition. There are a lot of great copywriters. I used to write with 18% conversion ration on average from semi-targeted traffic, however, I was writing copies for subjects I was passionate about.

    You ask me to write about dating and romance - I will get you a killer copy.

    You ask me to write about politics - I will not even take you as a client, because I just know I will not be good at it.

    Also, copywriting was my true passion itself. I wasn't doing it just to make a living.

    Take a look at work of others and see how you like their copies. There are so many "copywriters" who can't even grab attention. And there are so many truly talented guys out there too.
    Signature

    Machines can replace human labor, but they can't replace creativity.

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    • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
      Originally Posted by om4457 View Post

      Try to also trust your intuition. There are a lot of great copywriters. I used to write with 18% conversion ration on average from semi-targeted traffic, however, I was writing copies for subjects I was passionate about.
      Wow, you must be the greatest Copywriter in the history of Copywriters to get an average of an 18% conversion ration. Do tell us your secrets.
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  • Profile picture of the author JustSomeWarrior
    I'm so tired of this thread. Why do you all keep feeding it? Let it die, please.
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  • Profile picture of the author theory expert
    Banned
    Sorry, it is funny how something can be typed, and, perceived differently...

    ..Let me be very clear, I didnt mean not one person on your list could copy their way out of a paper bag....that would have been foolish.....what I meant was there is a person on there that sticks out to me that can't copy that #@$% great to be milking millions, (that I do know). Still there are others who I am surprise they can copy their way out of a paper bag (aint saying they can't I am just saying I am surprised).

    As far as who, I will not let you bait me into telling you "who"....
    I know what this post will lead to and what would ulimately happen...if you want to believe that list is sufficient than fine.

    I have my reservations about a few(small percentage)...not all, but, a few, (and one for certain). I just wanted to give the OP something to think about.

    Remember a number of people you have on the list I would not argue should be on there. We just agree to disagree about the list as a whole
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Harper
    Threads like this crack me up.

    You know why? Because you never get to see the badass, ass-kicking, CASH SUCKING sales letter the OP ultimately receives from her cut-rate or spec writer.

    Never.

    And do you know why?

    Of course you do. Same reason you ain't be gettin' to see that awesome million dollar product Scoke put together.

    Honestly, you guys should let it go. She's an 80 percenter. The world is full of them.
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